The British Army has taken delivery of its first completely new cannon system in 50 years – and it loads sideways. This loading system on the new 40mm Cased Telescoped Cannon System, which was handed over to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Bourges, France by CTA International (CTAI), is claimed to provide more firepower while saving space.
According to BAE Systems, which is a 50/50 partner in CTAI along with Nexter Systems, the delivery is the first of 515 40mm cannons for the British Army’s Warrior and Ajax armored fighting vehicles. The new system has been in development since the 1990s and has undergone extensive testing.
The key to the new 40 mm gun is its Cased Telescoped ammunition. Instead of using traditional bullet-shaped rounds with the projectile upfront and a cannister of propellant behind, Cased Telescoped ammunition consists of a straight tube with the projectile inside the tube completely surrounded by propellant and a plug in front that provides a gas-tight seal to drag the shell along. BAE says that this gives the shell four times the power of the previous 30 mm round.